The Flat Piercing: Everything You Need to Know
Looking for the newest addition to your cartilage party? Check out the flat piercing.
Located in the flat area of cartilage below the upper rim (the helix) and the flap of cartilage where the rook is located, the flat piercing provides a large area for unique piercing placement. It looks fantastic on its own or combined with other cartilage piercings, like the forward helix or auricle.
However, cartilage heals differently than other fleshier areas. Blood flow is an essential part of healing, and since cartilage is avascular, it takes a long time to heal. Additionally, the low blood flow makes cartilage susceptible to infection.
Before you get a flat piercing, you need to understand how cartilage heals and make sure that you are able to commit to the entire healing process. Here’s everything you need to know.
How much do flat piercings hurt?
Cartilage piercings, in general, tend to hurt more than other piercings. Although it would seem otherwise, piercing thinner cartilage tends to hurt more than piercing thicker cartilage. Therefore, the flat piercing is on the higher end of the pain scale compared to other piercings.
If you have a low pain tolerance, it doesn’t bar you from getting this piercing. Make sure that you eat and drink some water before the procedure to give your body the energy it needs. Choose an experienced piercer who will walk you through the process, tell you when to breathe, and who can do the procedure quickly and smoothly. The pain level of your piercing will greatly depend upon your piercer’s expertise, so choose wisely.
Flat piercing healing process
The flat piercing will take at least 3 months to heal, but it could take up to 6 months. The key to shortening your healing is committing to proper aftercare practices, getting enough rest and taking care of your body, and leaving the flat piercing jewelry alone. Before stopping aftercare practices, have your piercer take a look and confirm that you are done healing.
Flat piercing aftercare
Since cartilage is more susceptible to infection, you must commit to daily aftercare. Because of the long healing time, cartilage also tends to develop piercing bumps or blisters. Infection and other complications are easily avoidable as long as you make sure that you follow the aftercare rules provided to you by your piercer. Here are some additional tips to help you during healing.
Use saline solution or a homemade sea salt solution to clean your piercing 2 - 3 times daily. These cleanses will be the most effective protection against infection and other complications. The flat piercing is a little difficult to reach, so you should either use a compress by soaking a paper towel in your piercing aftercare solution and gently pressing it against the jewelry for 3 - 5 minutes or spraying both sides with an aftercare spray.
Don’t let the jewelry snag. Hypertrophic scarring is a common piercing bump that appears in cartilage piercings. It can occur for many reasons, but a major cause is trauma. Be careful that your hair or clothing doesn’t snag on the jewelry, don’t rotate the jewelry, and never pick at the crusties that accumulate around the piercing. If you feel as though your jewelry is too large, talk to your piercer about switching to a smaller jewelry piece after the initial swelling has gone down.
Only use products that are safe for piercings. Another major cause of hypertrophic scarring is irritation brought about by chemicals. Keep face wash, lotion, sunscreen, shampoo, and any other product away from your piercing. After you shower, make sure that you completely rinse and dry your flat piercing immediately. Saline solution and sea salt water are safe to use because both ingredients (salt and water) appear naturally in your body, so they work with your body’s natural healing process.
Flat piercing jewelry styles
The flat piercing exclusively sports cartilage studs with either a bead back or a flat back. However, you can get creative with unique charms and gemstones.
Little dangles coming from the charm of your cartilage stud look adorable in a flat piercing, especially if your flat piercing is located higher up. Many also opt for climbers for a multiple pierced look. When in doubt, a simple bead still rocks in this adorable piercing.
Why shouldn’t I get a flat piercing?
Cartilage piercings take a long time to heal, and you need to commit to proper aftercare for the entire time. If you can’t commit, then you should stay away from cartilage piercings, in general.
Since cartilage is avascular, it’s more susceptible to infection. If you’re experiencing health problems, or if you tend to get sick easily, keep in mind that this could contribute to your infection risk. This won’t bar you from this piercing, but you do need to be extra-vigilant in your aftercare practices.
How much will it cost?
Expect to spend between $40 - $80 for your flat piercing, not including the jewelry.
Make sure that you choose a reputable piercer. If they come at you with a piercing gun, run away. Piercing guns shouldn’t be used for any piercing, but they are especially dangerous to cartilage since cartilage is so brittle.
When you choose your initial jewelry, choose high quality, hypoallergenic metals. 14k gold and implant-grade titanium are popular options. If you start to feel irritation in your new piercing, have your piercer switch to a higher quality metal; you may be having an allergic reaction to an alloy.